How to Pick the Perfect Probiotic

What Gut Bacteria Does

Probiotics are all the rage in the health and wellness community. As more science emerges on the topic of gut health we begin to realize just how important it is to maintain a balance of healthy bacteria in our body. The human microbiome is complex and with trillions of bacteria in our gut. This gut bacteria are an essential part of your body’s ability to fight infections, digest food, and boost immunity. With any sort of bacterial imbalance your body may experience symptoms of arthritis, IBS, depression and can even lead to cancer.

Sources of Healthy Bacteria

The good news is, probiotics can help rebalance your gut flora. Healthy bacteria comes in many forms. You can eat naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh and kombucha (recipes). In addition, probiotic supplements are an easy way to ensure you are replenishing this good bacteria in your gut. And in the case you find yourself having to take antibiotics, are recovering from an illness or just want to regulate your GI tract — a high potency probiotic supplement that has a variety of live, active cultures may be just what you need.

How to Choose the Best Probiotic Supplement

Each individual has different needs and every probiotic supplement offers a variety of bacteria strains. So it can be a challenge to know which to choose! To make it easier for us consumers, a team at conducted an in depth and comprehensive review of 277 different contending probiotic supplements on the market. They consulted with nutrition specialists, natural medicine doctors and microbiologists to discover the best strains that help antibiotic recovery, immune support, or stress and anxiety relief. Then they followed a strict research criteria and methodology to come up with their top 8 picks.

Criteria Used:

  • They disregarded any probiotic supplement that only contained one strain of bacteria- research suggests that probiotics actually work better as a team than on their own. Even pairs can be more effective than individuals, as is the case with Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium Bifidum BB-12.
  • They looked for guaranteed viability — that is, bacteria that will still be alive when we swallow it- There may be dramatically fewer viable bacteria by the time you consume them than when they were first encapsulated, and good bacteria are no good to you dead.
  • Disregard those that use junk ingredients- Ditched artificial sweeteners Sucralose and Splenda, as well as the sugar alcohol Xylitol. There’s nothing beneficial about them in a probiotic supplement and they might even be harmful.
  • They also cut probiotics that contained a prebiotic- Prebiotics are carbohydrates or sugars that the normal human gut flora has a hard time breaking down — but that probiotics go crazy for. The cluster of simple sugars found in legumes (oligosaccharides) is a good example. Probiotics don’t just love these carbs; they need them to grow their colonies. But they are not needed in a probiotic supplement as they are contained in the food we eat.

If you would like to learn more about their top picks and read what the experts had to say check out the full review here.

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